Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pretty Tucson photos

I still owe you the STORY of Tucson Tales, The Finale, but in the meantime, here's some fun photos!
We have a LOT of fun in Tucson!

The top photo is an overview of the loot I brought home. Smaller photos are close-ups. Most of this is for kits!

The artisan beads and buttons I couldn't resist. From top left going clockwise, buttons from Raven's Journey; lampwork by Ellie Mac; lampwork by Isis Ray; and a spectacular wooden bead by Gerry Kmack

I loooove pearls!

Beading Shortcuts

I'm probably about to disappoint you. Because I'll bet you read the title of this post and got all excited to learn some tips to make your beadweaving faster and more efficient. But guess what?? Nope.

Instead I felt compelled to tell you all that I'm not a big believer in beadweaving shortcuts. Gasp! I know! It's not like I haven't tried them - I do, all the time. And what I find is that taking two stitches at once in a peyote stitch piece inevitably causes more tangles than usual, and the messes are bigger to out of. Cheating on a herringbone stitch by pulling the thread only once through both the downward and upward strokes pulls your beads out of a pristine, straight alignment, and makes for a sloppier looking project.

You are a beadweaver. You're not in this for speed. Take the slow road, enjoy the process, and your beadwork will thank you by being more beautiful in the end.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing the Blog

From June:

I know it’s been a while since we’ve updated the blog. That’s partly because life is comparatively calm right now, and I can’t think of anything to write. Well that’s not exactly true, stuff is going on, but it’s stuff I can’t talk about yet. So…..oh look! What an amazing sparkle.

Okay, I’m back now. Trying to think of something to write about. Winston! Winston, drop that! Winston……!

Back again. Oh, there’s the phone. Out of town number. Probably about an order. I’d better get that.

Hmmmm….maybe I’ll check Facebook while I think about what to write.

Ahhh…maybe I could write about…..oh, just got an order in. I’d better go get that ready to mail.

Okay, now! Although I am a little hungry – I haven’t eaten anything yet today. My brain will probably work better once I get some nourishment.

Wow, lunch made me really sleepy. I bet a nap with all the dogs and cats will refresh me.

Oh-oh. Know how sometimes you wake up in the wrong sleep cycle, and you feel like you’re just underwater? That’s me right now. Ugh. Maybe I can update the blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tucson Tales, Part II

The buildup before coming to Tucson is immense. So much planning and creation and anticipation. The appointed day finally arrives and it's instant and pure joy! Seeing my beady friends from across the world, vendors and customers alike. I miss them mightily between shows. They are my tribe! My family! The people that get me and my obsession with tiny beads and the beauty we can create with them.

So for five days, we all gathered at The Best Bead Show (among other shows) and laughed and hugged and bought beads. We played at night, dining and dancing. A few hours of sleep were all we could spare before getting up to do at all again. And then, suddenly...POOF! It's over. My friends stop by to say farewell before they leave for their own little piece of the country, and I pack up all that's left behind. Sometimes I get what I call the Post Show Blues from the letdown of intense adrenalin.

But not this time! Because for all the wonderful WONDERFUL things that happened at the show, it was a rough one this time around too. The frigid temperatures left the vendors outside in tents and on the patio in dangerous conditions. Pipes around the city at hotels and show venues burst, leaving many without heat and water for a few days. I wrenched my back, and dug a huge gouge in the back of my hand while setting up. OUCH for the rest of the show. And to top it all off, I came down with a cold the last day. Tucson, I love you. But you're testing my patience this year!

Back to the good stuff, though. I treated myself to some fabulous lampwork beads from Isis Ray, Bernadette Fuentes, Ellie Mac. I'll have to wait until the sun comes back up to take photos to share. I placed a project in Bead Unique Magazine - I'll keep you posted on when you can find it! And it looks like I'm going to be adding a bunch of teaching weekends around the country soon. Chicago, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and more!

I spent a day in the hotel, sleeping and trying to shake the remainder of this cold that's got my energy low. Because while MY show is over, there are many others out there that need some of my spending money! So tomorrow I'm off to shop. POWER SHOP!! I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tucson Tales, Part I

I sat down tonight to write an email to Mom to tell her all about the craziness of this day, but then I decided y'all would want to hear it all too. So now it's a letter to ALL of you! may not have noticed this, but it's C O L D outside. I don't care where you are in the US, it's way colder than usual. And I live in Texas, therefore, I do not have cold weather clothing. Sure, it gets chilly for a few days a year, but it's not a big deal most of the time. I don't even have a real winter coat these days. I lost mine a few years ago somewhere, and I've been making due with some sweater/wrap type of things. I own only one pair of closed-toe shoes.

But then this cold front came through. BIG ugly, hairy, wicked cold front. So evil, that as I was driving to Tucson yesterday, I just couldn't bring myself to keep going when I got to the point where I was driving through snow, sleet, and 30mph winds. Enough! So I stopped for the night at a hotel, and made the rest of the trip on Tuesday. When I left the hotel that morning the windchill was below zero, and I was out getting gas in the car in my sandals. I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, ya' know. Luckily I drove out of the worst of the weather and got myself to Tucson, albeit much later than I'd wished.

I did a power shopping whirl around the To Bead True Blue show - so fast and furious that I'd already racked up a security hold on my debit card in the first 45 min. You veterans of the bead show shopping will know what I mean... When you're at the bead shows and buying from different vendors from all across the country/world, it looks like there's credit card fraud going on to the credit card companies and they kindly put a security hold on your card. It's not a huge deal as you just have to call them and confirm that you're really the one making all those purchases. But it is annoying in that moment when your card gets declined!!

Kelli Burns & Jill
I got to hug on Kelli Burns from the Hole Bead Shoppe - we were so excited to see each other we couldn't sit still for the photo! She's one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I also got to meet a whole bunch of my Facebook friends in real life - it's so much fun!

After the show closed at 6, I had to run by MY show to unload my car into the booth. And it was like a bad Marx Brothers skit. I am using a new set of bins to hold all my kits under the table instead of my usual rolling carts. The table is only 6' instead of my normal 8' setup, so I had to get creative. Unfortunately, the new bins are a nightmare to transport! They all fell apart and spilled kits all over as I tried to get them in the hall. I left a trail of kits and bins behind me as I dropped them over and over again. Rolling carts? I'm SO sorry I strayed! Please forgive me! I'll never do it again! By the time I finally got most of them into the hall, I was so annoyed that I just left them in shambles. I'll have to get to the show extra early in the morning to sort it all out again. Sigh.

I was rushing (surprise) because I still needed to go check into my hotel, freshen up, and then head out to the Interweave party to meet up with a bunch more friends. So I find my hotel. Go to check in. And.....wait for it....they have given my room away. And they're full. And everyone else in the area is full. I feel dizzy with visions of having to sleep in the car for the next 10 nights. When I made my last set of changes with dates on the room reservation online, it evidentally didn't take, and poof! There goes the room. Thank goodness, I had the sense to call Kelli Burns first and she said she thought the hotel they were staying at had some rooms available. So in one phone call, Kelli saved the day. I love Kelli!!!

Stephanie Dixon & Jill
At that point I no longer had time to find the new hotel and freshen up before the party. So I did a little primping in the car. Good enough. The heck with being cute. I was THERE! And I had SO much fun!

I finally FINALLY got to meet the amazing Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick & Swarovski Ambassador from Toronto. We've been Facebook friends for a while now and ADORE each other and it was so great to discover we love each other in real life too!!

I could name drop like crazy and tell you ALL the folks I met and talked to through the day, but I'll spare you. Because I'm in serious need of a bed right about now. I'm going to have to wake at dawn to get ready before the show opens at 10am, and wouldn't you know it, Wednesday is the day we're open until 8pm too. I have plans with Tracy Stanley and Janice Berkebile for dinner afterwards, and we'll probably have others join us as well.

There are a bunch of vendors who are having trouble getting to Tucson with all the weather issues. And the saddest for me is my dear Anna Draeger. Her flight was cancelled, and now she can't find another flight down here. She plans on spending the whole day Wednesday trying to find a seat. I'll cry if she can't make it!!

And hopefully...if I'm really lucky...I will survive it all. Cold weather? Booth disasters? Hotel room chaos? No problem. I got it covered!